Submitted by Congressman Jason Smith
On October 7, barbaric Hamas terrorists stormed into Israel and committed the worst Jewish massacre since the Holocaust.
Over a thousand civilians – mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, and babies – were murdered in cold blood by Iran-backed Hamas terrorists. One of the victims was Missourian Deborah Matias; she and her husband, Shlomi, were murdered while shielding their 16-year-old son from gunfire. My heart goes out to each and every one of the families who are mourning the loss of a loved one.
Israel is one of our strongest allies and closest friends. The nation – a beacon of freedom in the Middle East – has every right to do what it needs to ensure the safety of its citizens and make sure something like this never happens again. Whether it’s providing weapons, aid, or intelligence, the U.S. must make sure Israel has the resources to accomplish its mission.
Make no mistake: the vast majority of Americans and their leaders in Congress support Israel’s right to defend itself. Yet as we’ve seen at college campuses, Times Square, and rallies in cities in America and across the globe, there are some who not only blame Israel for the atrocities committed by these terrorists, but even celebrate the barbaric slaughter of innocent people.
For example, chapters of groups like Black Lives Matter and Palestinian organizations on college campuses have depicted paragliders on their propaganda – an image specifically celebrating Hamas terrorists who descended into a music festival filled with Israeli youth and massacred over 260 innocent civilians. Anyone who has shared these sickening images should be disqualified from helping to decide the future of the Middle East.
Jews in the U.S. and across the world should not have to live in fear that they will be harassed, attacked, or murdered because of their religious beliefs. Hamas’ terrorism should be a wakeup call to the too many Americans who have grown complacent about supporting Israel. We share a bond that runs deeper than political ties, and we must do all we can to support our friend in this time of need.
It’s well-documented that Hamas stores weapons in or near schools, hospitals, apartment buildings and places of worship, using women and children as human shields so the terrorists can falsely claim that Israel is intentionally targeting civilians. In fact, Israel sends out warnings to those who are in the area of an upcoming strike as part of their commitment to reduce civilian casualties; Hamas urges civilians to remain where they are or rush toward the site of the forthcoming attack and become martyrs.
It’s no secret that Iran provides funding, weapons, and training to terror groups like Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran uses these terror groups as proxies as part of its evil efforts to achieve its goal of wiping the entire nation of Israel off the map. On September 11, 2023, the Biden administration unfroze $6 billion and made it available to Iran – the world’s number-one state sponsor of terror. Among the several measures I coauthored following Hamas’ terror attack was legislation to block Iran from accessing the $6 billion. I have always stood with Israel and strongly opposed policies and legislation that embolden Iran.
As the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir once said, “If the Palestinians lay down their weapons there will be peace. If the Israelis lay down their weapons, there will be a massacre.”
As the war rages on, the media, student groups, and terrorist sympathizers will continue to falsely paint Israel as the aggressor. Don’t take their bait. Israel has every right to defend itself and take the necessary steps to prevent another massacre from ever happening again. America must do its part to support Israel in this war it did not start. At the same time, the U.S. must remain vigilant and step-up security here at home.